91 x 91 cm
Oil on cotton
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Violett-Orange II [Violet-orange II]
Franz Fedier (born 1922 in Erstfeld, Switzerland, died 2005 in Bern, Switzerland) lived in Paris for some time in the 1950s, during which he often had lengthy discussions about the issue of movement in art with Jean Tinguely, who was also living there at the time. While Tinguely devoted his career to Kinetic Art, Fedier remained true to painting and would later become one of Switzerland’s most important abstract painters.
While Fedier continued to be fascinated with movement in his geometric period, he approached it from a new angle. The personal, gestural application of paint became more neutral, while expressive, abstract forms evolved into something more geometric. The intensity with which his brightly colored circles, stripes, wedges, and triangles clash clearly demonstrates Fedier’s principle of “Malen von Kontrasten.” Based on his interest in the principle of kinetics, around 1965 he developed a small series of wall objects with rotating discs fastened to the front. He concluded this experiment in 1967, after which he argued that beholders should rather imagine the rotational movement themselves, as in “Kreisrelief mit rotem Band." Although this work does not actually rotate, this ingenious construction with three discs still manages to create the illusion of a rotating movement. Fedier’s color spaces – whether rectangular, round, or angular – are coursing with dynamic energy, also in works in which he relies on subtle methods, such as in “Violett-Orange.” This work comprises eight long, vertical rectangles separated by thick lines. At the upper and lower ends of these rectangles, we see progressively lighter or darker bands in the two different colors. The waxing and waning violet and orange bands alternate their position four times. This simple and sophisticated repositioning creates the impression of a advancing and retreating spatial depth, which the beholder perceives as a kind of vibration throughout the entire picture.
Fédier is one of the few artists of his generation who was able to bridge the ideological divide between gestural, abstract art and Constructivist Art. He contributed to the advancement of Swiss abstraction but was also instrumental in setting a new course for geometric art, creating a synthesis between the two in his later works. This change of direction may seem surprising at first glance, but throughout all the phases of his work, no matter what formal idiom he used, Fedier never lost interest in the same basic theme: the creation of dynamic color spaces within a conceptual framework that can best be described as “Malen von Kontrasten.”